In the News: AED Used on Buffalo Bills’ Hamlin

In the News: AED Used on Buffalo Bills’ Hamlin


Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. Hamlin was given CPR and an AED was deployed by first responders.

At the time of publication, the NFL had released a statement confirming Hamlin is in critical condition.

What is an AED and how does it work?

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that analyzes the heart’s rhythm and delivers an electric shock to the heart if necessary. The shock, called defibrillation, can potentially stop an irregular heart rhythm and allow the heart to return to its normal rhythm.

Here’s how an AED works:

  1. The person using the AED will turn it on and follow the prompts.
  2. The AED will ask the user to attach adhesive pads to the person’s chest. These pads have sensors that can detect the heart’s electrical activity.
  3. The AED will analyze the heart’s rhythm. If it detects a rhythm that may be treated with defibrillation, it will give the user an audio prompt to deliver a shock.
  4. The user will press a button to deliver the shock. The AED will then prompt the user to begin CPR, if necessary.
  5. The AED will continue to monitor the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, prompt the user to deliver additional shocks.

AEDs are designed to be easy to use and require minimal training. Most AEDs have step-by-step instructions and voice prompts to guide the user through the process.

Who is most at risk for Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency that occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. It can affect people of any age, but some groups are at higher risk than others.

Some factors that can increase a person’s risk of sudden cardiac arrest include:

  • Age: The risk of sudden cardiac arrest increases with age. It is more common in people over the age of 65.

  • Male gender: Men are slightly more likely to experience sudden cardiac arrest than women.

  • Family history: If you have a family history of sudden cardiac arrest or inherited heart conditions, you may be at increased risk.

  • Personal history of heart disease: If you have been diagnosed with a heart condition, such as coronary artery disease, heart failure, or cardiomyopathy, you may be at higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

  • Previous heart attack: If you have had a heart attack in the past, you are at increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

  • Certain medications: Some medications, such as certain antidepressants and antiarrhythmic drugs, can increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

  • Substance abuse: Substance abuse, particularly abuse of stimulant drugs like cocaine, can increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

  • Obesity: Being obese or having a high body mass index (BMI) can increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.



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